The Operation Motorman Ledgers

Tom Watson made this Freedom of Information request to Information Commissioner’s Office

The request was successful.

From: Tom Watson

24 February 2010

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

You will no doubt be aware of the inquiry by the DCMS Select
Committee into press standards. I'm a member of the committee.

I would now like to formally request a copy of the invoice ledgers
used in the Operation Motorman investigation. I'm only after the
electronic copy so there is no need to copy any paperwork.

I'm happy for the columns of the report that indicate the name of
the person being investigated by newspapers to be redacted if this
makes your decision any easier to make.

If you require any further detail about the exact nature of this
request, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes

Yours faithfully,

Tom Watson MP

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Richard Taylor left an annotation (24 February 2010)

Quote-marks An article by Mr Watson explaining the background to this request is available at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/...

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Information Commissioner’s Office

25 February 2010

Link: [1]File-List

25th February 2010

Case Reference Number IRQ0298394

Dear Mr Watson

Request for Information

Thank you for your e-mail of 24 February 2010 in which you have asked us
to provide you with “… a copy of the invoice ledgers used in the
Operation Motorman investigation.”. 

Your request has been passed to the Internal Compliance Team, and is being
dealt with in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 under
the reference number shown above.  We will therefore respond to your
request by 24 March 2010, which is 20 working days from the day after we
received your request.

Should you wish to reply to this e-mail please be careful not to amend the
information in the ‘subject’ field. This will ensure that your reply
is added directly to your case. However, please be aware that this is an
automated process; the information will not be read by a member of our
staff until your case is allocated to a request handler.

Yours sincerely

Antonia Swann

Assistant Internal Compliance Manager

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Tel: 01625 545894

[2]www.ico.gov.uk

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Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.gov.uk

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P. John left an annotation (28 February 2010)

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Information Commissioner’s Office

24 March 2010


Attachment Operation Motorman List of Headings used in 13 files.PDF.pdf
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Attachment R JJ Services Invoices 1.pdf.pdf
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Attachment ICOReviewProcedure V7.doc
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24^th March 2010

Case Reference Number IRQ0298394

Dear Mr Watson

Request for Information

Further to my acknowledgement of 25 February 2010 we are now in a position
to provide you with a response to your request for information dated 24
February 2010, which you submitted via the ‘What Do They Know?’
website.

In your e-mail of 24 February you asked us to provide you with “…a
copy of the invoice ledgers used in the Operation Motorman
investigation”.

It may help if I explain that the original information relating to
Operation Motorman is held in manual paper records, but this information
has since been converted into 13 separate excel spreadsheets which are now
held in an xls format.  For security reasons that information can only be
disclosed in pdf format, so the files have been converted accordingly, but
they do still meet with your request for electronic copies of the
information we hold.

I have attached a copy of the list of headings used in each of the 13
spreadsheets.  Although the headings are visible within each of the files
they are spread out amongst the pages, so the lists help to clarify the
information which has been recorded in the original manual and subsequent
electronic files.  In addition, following the conversion of the files
from xls to pdf some of the pages appear blank, with no information
recorded.  This is due to the redactions which have been made, notably of
entire columns of information such as the subjects personal details.  The
blank pages have been left in the final documents to ensure you are
provided with a complete copy.

Also, as some of the 13 files contain 1000’s of separate records and are
therefore particularly large I am sending them to you in separate
instalments, under separate e-mails. 

As you will see from the lists of headings and the pdf files only four
contain information relating to the cost of the searches carried out. 
These are ‘JJ Services Invoices 1’, ‘JJ Services Invoices 2’,
‘PS30 1’ and ‘RP9, RP15, DS3, DS2’.  Whilst the other files do
not contain any references to the costs involved, we thought for the sake
of completeness that you would like to have copies of all the electronic
records relating to Operation Motorman. 

As you have anticipated, we have taken the decision to remove, or redact,
the personal data of most of the individuals specifically listed or
referred to in the 13 files in order to protect their identities.

These redactions have been made in accordance with Section 40(2) of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), by virtue of section 40(3)(a)(i),
which allows a public authority to withhold information from a response to
a request under the FOIA when the information requested is personal data
relating to someone other than the requestor, and its disclosure would
contravene one of the Data Protection principles.

In the case of Operation Motorman the personal data we hold has been used
and retained in connection with the Information Commissioner’s
regulatory functions under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), and
specifically the need to retain the evidence of criminal offences being
committed under the DPA, notably section 55, which relates to the unlawful
obtaining of personal data. 

We take the view that it is reasonable to assume that those individuals
whose details were recorded in connection with Operation Motorman could
not have anticipated or expected their details to be made public in
providing a response to an information request under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA).  We believe this is the case whether they
have been the subject of an enquiry, a journalist or an ‘information
getter’.  Therefore, we consider that such a disclosure would be unfair
and in breach of the first Data Protection principle which states that
“Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully …”. 

The exception to this is that information which we hold relating to
Stephen Whittamore, John Boyall, Alan King and Paul Marshall.  This is
because all these individuals have been found guilty of offences relating
to Operation Motorman, and as such their names are already in the public
domain.  Specifically, all four pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court
on 15 April 2005 in relation to offences linked to the unlawful trade in
personal information. Marshall and King pleaded guilty to conspiracy to
commit misconduct in a public office, the sale of information from police
databases. Whittamore and Boyall pleaded guilty to charges in relation to
section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Further redactions have also been made of information which could help to
identify an individual, such as date of birth, addresses, telephone
numbers, vehicle details, small companies (ie possible sole traders or
partnerships) and newspaper headlines.  These redactions have also been
made in reliance on section 40(2) of the FOIA, for the same reasons as
given above.

I hope that this provides you with the information you require.  However,
if you are dissatisfied with this response and wish to request a review of
our decision or make a complaint about how your request has been handled
you should write to the Internal Compliance Team at the address below or
e-mail [2][email address]

Your request for internal review should be submitted to us within 40
working days of receipt by you of this response. Any such request
received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the
Commissioner.

If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right
of appeal to this office in our capacity as the statutory complaint
handler under the legislation.  To make such an application, please write
to the Case Reception Team, at the address below or visit the
‘Complaints’ section of our website to make a Freedom of Information
Act or Environmental Information Regulations complaint online.

 

A copy of our review procedure is attached.

Yours sincerely

Antonia Swann

Assistant Internal Compliance Manager

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Tel: 01625 545894

[3]www.ico.gov.uk

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Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.gov.uk

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24 March 2010


Attachment R NJC 1.pdf.pdf
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24 March 2010


Attachment R JJ Services Invoices 2.pdf.pdf
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24 March 2010


Attachment R PS 28.pdf.pdf
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24 March 2010


Attachment R PS29 1.pdf.pdf
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Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.gov.uk

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24 March 2010


Attachment R PS30 1.pdf.pdf
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Tel: 01625 545 700 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.gov.uk

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24 March 2010


Attachment R RP9 RP15 DS3 DS2.pdf.pdf
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24 March 2010


Attachment R RP10 Green Book.pdf.pdf
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24 March 2010


Attachment R RP12 Blue Book.pdf.pdf
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24 March 2010


Attachment R RP11 Red Book.pdf.pdf
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24 March 2010


Attachment R RP21 Yellow Book.pdf.pdf
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24 March 2010


Attachment R X s Notes.pdf.pdf
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24 March 2010


Attachment R Telephone Numbers.pdf.pdf
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Tom Watson left an annotation (25 March 2010)

Quote-marks These pdf files are virtually unreadable. Do you know how I might frame an appeal to get it out in an .xls format?

Also, I really want the names of the journalists involved in this stuff. Is this unreasonable to ask for do you think?

Thanks for all you help so far.

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Richard McMillan left an annotation (25 March 2010)

Quote-marks The 'secuity' claim is very strange indeed - they could always export the data to a simple delimited format if worried about metadata.

Link to this

P. John left an annotation (26 March 2010)

Quote-marks Civil Servants dread the 'undo' or 'track changes' feature, that sometimes reveals deleted information.

However, ICO could export the data from the spreadsheet as CSV (comma separated values) or XML without any such risk.

Using CSV or XML formats would fully preserve the data integrity, and allow the files to be opened in any spreadsheet or database application compatible with those formats.

ICO have agreed to consider my request for the data format to be changed;
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/op...

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Information Commissioner’s Office

16 April 2010


Attachment R JJ Services Invoices 1 CSV format.csv.xls
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16th April 2010

Case Reference Number IRQ0298394

Dear Mr Watson

Request for Information

Further to my previous e-mail and enclosures of 24 March 2010, in which
you asked for electronic copies of the Operation Motorman files held by
the ICO, you may be aware that a similar request was made via the ‘What
Do They Know’ website on the same day as your own request.  In that
instance the requester, Peter John, asked for a review of the way in which
we had handled his request for information, on the grounds that the
converted PDF files we had provided were “… unacceptable.  The data
provided is simply illegible in many instances.”.   The correspondence
relating to Mr John’s request can be accessed via the following link:

[2]http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/op...

Mr John had suggested that the PDF files could be converted into either
CSV or XML formats instead.  Whilst the Freedom of Information Act 2000
does not require a public authority to provide a copy of the requested
information in any specified electronic format, in this instance we did
appreciate the difficulties of reading the information from some of the
larger PDF files, and therefore we have converted the original 13 redacted
Operation Motorman electronic files from XLS files into CSV files. 

Therefore, please find attached the first CSV file, whilst as before the
other 12 files will be sent separately. 

I should mention that due to the conversion from XLS to CSV, some of the
dates within the files appear to have been replaced with a series of #
marks.  I have been advised that if you open the files in Excel the
relevant columns can be widened and the correct dates should then
appear.  Alternatively the files can be opened in Notepad format, and
again the correct dates should appear.  We do apologise for any
inconvenience this causes.

I hope you have found this information, and the attached files, helpful.

Yours sincerely

Antonia Swann

Assistant Internal Compliance Manager

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Tel: 01625 545894

[3]www.ico.gov.uk

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Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 Fax: 01625 524 510 Web: www.ico.gov.uk

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16 April 2010


Attachment R JJ Services Invoices 2 CSV format.csv.xls
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16 April 2010


Attachment R NJC CSV format.csv.xls
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Attachment R PS29 CSV format.csv.xls
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Attachment R RP9 RP15 DS3 DS2 CSV format.csv.xls
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